Friday, February 29, 2008


Okay, the title of the blogpost is LEAPING, and to be perfectly honest, I am not leaping in any stretch of the imagination! I did hop a little when I brought my Bernina home, plugged her in and noticed that she purred like a kitten. A big ole' leopard kitten wanting to get to work on the projects at hand in the sewing room. I can't wait.

Life however, has (as always) intervened. My partner's Mom is requiring quite a bit of tlc in her home bound post knee surgery state of affairs. I happily hop (not leap mind you-- hop) to her requests as frankly, when I am an old broad stuck in my house after a surgical proceedure done because my body is just old and wearing the heck right out--- I want someone to come in and look after me. Yesterday's requests came when I was heading home from the studio hoping to have a nice glass of red and a light dinner and head up to the sewing room. It sort of cracks me up that her pleading (in that 4 year old little girl voice that somehow all old broads take on when under duress) was for a box of brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tarts, some blueberry muffins, some cottage cheese, and maybe more of those yummy crackers I brought over last time. You know, the ones that the rest of the world not trying to make it on social security or pension can buy, not the store brand!!! I happily brought her all of those gourmet treats and more, having a nice visit.

The whole Pop Tarts thing always makes me laugh! Do you remember the age of flaming Pop Tart Toasters or Pop Tart Humor? I suppose it is quite telling that I find it amusing!

The amazing thing to me is that apparently those fine creative folks at Pop Tarts have discovered yet another incredibly delicious treat------- FROZEN POP TARTS. Frozen, Pop Tarts, can you even imagine that? My stomach does a barrel roll at the thought of a chocolate Pop Tart from the toaster much less a frozen one.

Because I am a Google freak, the subject of Pop Tarts piqued my curiosity. GET THIS---- this guy has an actual article on the Internet about how to create a torch using your toaster and two strawberry Pop Tarts, based on the article about the same by Dave Barry. This is FUNNY stuff and I urge you to take a peek at this, really--- it is hilarious. (Then again, as we all know I am easily amused). The author of this article is a sick man, and I am sicker still to be laughing quite some time after reading the article, thanks Patrick.

If you still have not had enough breakfast pastry inspired laughter for the day, please find your way over to If you are language sensitive or a big Hello Kitty or Colin Farrel fan I would quickly turn you away gentle reader. If you scroll down a few entries however, I can recommend the K Fed Pop Tart Rap.

Long story short........... I love the Internet, other people's blogs absolutely fascinate me, and we as a nation are pretty funny people. I still don't eat Pop Tarts, add an extra "o" and you'll know what I really call them, and I'm waiting to hear your stories about PT's.

Levity aside---- the universe always smiles on kindness I tell you because just as I was leaving the call came to stop at my favorite neighborhood watering hole for a few FatTires and some munchies. By the time I left I was mellow, smiling and full of appetizery goodness.

I'll be working a half day today, which means that in a very short hour I can work my way toward home, I can hear the Bernina call my name in the lonely sewing room!

On the knitting front, that first sleeve of Cable Luxe is still plodding along a row at a time, I have seriously lost all interest in a sweater I will more than likely never wear this season and the charcoal heather gray color just makes me cranky. Socks? Still in the same place they were last week, maybe knit group this Sunday will get me out of the slump.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Welcome Home

It might be chilly, gray and all wintery with its' mix of snow and rain------ ack------- but nothing makes me warmer than to be able to pick up my Bernina today!!! YAY! She is all tuned up and clean, her tension issues have been fixed, the little hitch between the foot pedal is going to be a dim memory!

Projects lined up? Count on it.

Batteries in all the cameras are in the chargers in preparation for a commercial shoot today so I have nothing in the way of images. Not that there is much to see as I've been trying to plug away on the Tolle book in preparation for the webclass next Monday night.

Much read----- little knit-----

Monday, February 25, 2008

Workin' the Red Carpet

Last night was the Academy Awards in Hollywood, that means it must be time for the annual dishing of the Red Carpet!! Red dresses were the big buzz on the red carpet, it's my favorite color so I loved them all. Well, almost all.

You pretty much have to start off with George Clooney who always looks really and truly great. All men everywhere....... you should look this good when you are George's age. No kidding.

© 2008- WENN

Below is Clooney with his girlfriend Sarah Larson. What's up with that? My other eyebrow raised when I saw her dress, pretty blah if you ask me. Which you didn't.

© 2008- WENN

John travolta and his wife Kelly Preston looked very new Hollywood, didn't they??? He always looks great, much of that being his nice guy persona of course. Kelly looked fabulous in that dress, she was a standout if for no other reason the color of her dress----wow!

© 2008- WENN

Renee Zellweger. Ahem. The dress was okay----- although I found it a bit blah with all of the strong colors and designer vavoom on the red carpet. And she was just too doggone thin, wayyyyy to thin. Yes, I do believe there is such a thing! What really got me was the hair. What WAS she thinking? Mussy has it's place, many of the stars had hair that was definitely far from hair spray perfect! She just didn't make it work, just my opinion -- I could be wrong! Renee, you really should have some of my Bugles, it just might add a little much needed roundness! I wish I could give you some of mine, but alas..............

© 2008- AMPAS

Marion Cotillard wore one of my favorite dresses of the evening, she was magnificent! Her mermaid dress was by
Jean Paul Gaultier Couture, truly lovely. To my way of thinking, she wore the dress not the other way around. Old Hollywood with a fresh new spin.

© 2008- AMPAS

Heidi Klum in Galliano------ what a gorgeous dress! Her hair was stunning, the gown was wonderful, she just looked really great! She and hubby Seal looked absolutely fabulous on the red carpet----- regal even! Heidi is donating her dress and you can enter to win it HERE. I would love to win this dress. It would fit one of my legs. Now mind you, it would be tight but I'd by jiggy wear it!!!!!

© 2008- Getty

What can you say about Katherine Heigle? Beautiful, charming, bubbly, adorable! Her (also) red dress was Escada and magnificent. No newlywed weight gain for her!

© 2008- Getty

If you don't lovelove love loooooooooooove Diablo Cody and HER story, you are sleeping at the wheel! Nevermind that she is a former stripper, nevermind that eye popping tattoo, her earrings were tres chic and that leopard dress? Only Diablo could have pulled it off. (We won't mention that walking up the stairs to the stage as well as exiting after accepting her award was less than glamorous--- yikes!) Once again, talent rules and being less than the 'normal' beauty can indeed work. (Note to Nell: No, you can't have this tattoo. I'm serious.)

© 2008- WENN

I worked my own personal Sunday Red Carpet in my jammies. RED of course! A lot of snacking to include some pizza and M&M's---- and a Bugle or two. In my defense, I did work on a contract and some website work in the morning, but most of the day was blissfully wallow-ish.

I've hit a temporary snafu in the knitting department! With only a few inches left of sleeve one of Cable Luxe when using the Dirter to wind a fresh ball of yarn, that stupid yarn made the biggest mess EVER. In my frustration I threw it across the room, where it stays today. At some point I'll try to straighten out the mess but it isn't going to be pretty in the least!

Then again? Life is frequently messy.................. n'est pas?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Faith and Rejoicing

Living in a constant state of faith. Is that what it all boils down to?

My journal pages these days seem to be a rather constant and repetitive sound of faith. Faith lived, faith within, faith without.

I know that I absolutely hate living in a constant sense of need, or to put it more precisely=== the state of self employment. Never really knowing if it is all going to pan out. But faith is rejoicing when it's all said and done as well as before, at least for me. And what we hate, isn't that what we need most?

For the most part, I'm not sure why there is questioning at all, I can look back over my shoulder and see that there has never been a time that I was without the things that are needed. (Remembering that want and need are two different things!)

I figure that wrapping my arms around the concept of faith is what I need most to be doing right now. So it goes. Undoubtedly the coming of spring will boost faith for us all, there is nothing like the buds on a tree or the first flowers pushing through the soil to remind us that we are not (thankfully) left in charge of running the universe! I try not to berate myself for having to revisit the concept over and over again, after all I am not 'done' yet!

But does wishing to give up living in a state of needful expectancy mean that you are either spiritually full or that you have everything you need and have then no need for faith? Either way, what comes out the ink onto the paper is faith and rejoicing.

"Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O captive Israel. "Why are we rejoicing? I've been to baseball games where the home team led throughout the game and held on for a slim victory; that brought sighs of relief, but not rejoicing. Rejoicing comes when the home team is behind.. a win seems out of reach and then a ninth inning rally concludes with a walk-off home run and victory. That's rejoicing." © 2008 Northland, A Church Distributed

Maybe it is the coldness, the ongoing everpresent winter, the ice and snow and the terminal gray that seems to cause such deep introspection, I don't know. But I do know that I'm learning to relax into faith, embrace the unknown and move forward with more confidence. A life long project for me, I always wonder if and why it is easier for some?

My darling Bernina has had parts ordered---- I do hope they come quickly as I miss her so! I've completely lost the rhythm of the last bag. Although I visit the sewing room every day it just isn't the same. My hope is that they hurry their sweet selves right along!

Knitting has begun on the first sleeve of Cable Luxe, so far so good. I really do want this sweater to be finished.

I have faith that it will!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tip of the Iceberg

The lunar eclipse last night was nothing short of spectacular! I can't remember a time when it was as clear and the viewing was as easy. The skies over St. Louis were more than generous in sharing such an amazing event. I kept running outside in my flannel jammies, fur coat, shocking pink fuzzy socks and black slip on loafers to catch a peek. You can of course understand that I looked nothing short of Really Hot. Temperatures were in the low teens last night and I about froze my ever lovin' off but it was completely worth it. The hilarious thing is that I started dashing outside about 8:30 and kept that up until about 9:05 as the shadow made it's way over the moon. At 9:06 I discovered that the large window in the dining room, located directly over the blowing heat vent had a spectacular view of the eclipse. Duh. I was able to enjoy the waning of the event from the comforts of my own house. Sans coat.

Today I am still wearing my flannel jammies for it is a snow day! More accurately an ICE day, the sleet and freezing rain have been falling all morning and the roads are an absolute nightmare. Needless to say I am not going in to the studio today but will work from home. The car is an glittering sarcophagus of ice, forget chipping through that!!

Thankfully we did have a heads up that the icy weather was on the way because I had about three tablespoons of ice melt left in the bag, not enough to do much of anything. So as cranky as I was about heading out into the really cold night air, that is what I did last night. Because we are (hopefully) near the end of the winter season there is not a lot of ice melt or salt available. I worked my way down the road stopping at every QT, 7 11, and home store en route. Finally I did locate a bag of the stuff of which ice is afraid at a grocery store.

Here is the good news----- really the amazingly spectacular news. I had to pass the snacky aisle on the way down to pick up the salt and I believe that I have made a very important discovery! What I have in my possession may possibly be the finest snack food ever invented---- maybe in the history of the entire world. I love my junk food (sadly) and I do not take this pronouncement lightly!

CARAMEL BUGLES!!!! Now, I find regular old plain run of the mill Bugles quite the gourmet treat. As they are not available at the grocery store, they are purchased while on the road at just about any gas & convenience store. In small bags even---- where is a nice big bag when you need them? Ack. But I spied the Bugles logo in the grocery and went running over, my glee over finally finding ice melt on the back burner. Bugles!! And a new variety? On sale? Say no more! They were 3 little bags for 4 dollars so of course I didn't want to break up the family and took 3 bags. I almost ran to my car I was so excited------ and I ripped into the first bag before leaving the parking lot. Just as the bag says, sweet and salty. They are buttery and crunchy, you can taste the corny goodness and the salty tang. Yum. It is my strongest suggestion that you jump in your car and run right out and buy a bag or five. Unless you live in St. Louis and if that is the case, I'm really sorry but you will have to wait until this ice has melted. I do have ice melt if that is any help?

And if having discovered the finest junk food delicacy in the world is not enough, look what the mailman brought!!!!

DANG cute shoes! Little leopard flats with a black patent little toe belt and a strip of black patent on the center back as well. Way too cute! I can't tell you how much I want to wear these shoes but since I'm not going anywhere today I'll just have to admire them off my feet!

Now check THIS out! In my former life, one of the things I did was create a little E-Mazagine by subscription for quilters called Gramma' Ruth's Gazette. (More about that later). I still get communication from Quilts Inc., the company behind Quilt Market. In the recent issue of the "e-Insider", there was a huge article about the meld between quilting and knitting! I say DUH----- it is the perfect mix of creative joy! I've been a quilter and a knitter forever and know that many of my blitters are as well. Check out a portion of the article, it features our beloved Sheri from The Loopy Ewe as well as the rockin' duo at Stash and Burn! I was absolutely tickled to see this!!

The New Face of Knitting

and how the quilt shop can benefit

The knitting area at Nancy’s Quilt Shop

In terms of popularity, knitting has certainly seen its share of ups and downs through the years. In the current decade, however, the artform has undergone a resurgence, capturing the attention of a new and different audience that includes teenagers, college students, young mothers, and even men. And with many quilters also showing an interest in knitting, a number of quilt shops have found a way to capitalize on this trend by adding knitting classes and supplies to their own stores.

In many ways, the trend can be attributed to the extensive variety of specialty yarns and fresh, new designs and tools that are available to knitters today. And attendees to International Quilt Market can get a first-hand look at some of these products. Exhibitors like Hanah Silk, Bryson Distributing, and Clover Needlecraft supply retailers with everything from standard knitting needles to patterns for fashion-forward knits.

Jan Carr, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Clover Needlecraft, says that the company has “enjoyed a steady increase in interest in knitting and crochet products along with a strong increase in sales over the last 3-4 years.” In fact, the company has added several knitting needles to their lineup of products in recent years. Among their bestsellers are the Bamboo Circular Knitting Needle, used for creating everything from scarves to afghans, and the Bamboo Double Point Knitting Needle, used for sock making.

Carr also says that there are many quilters who have developed an interest in knitting, crochet, and other needlework products. “Knitting is simple to learn and has a calming effect on most people,” he says. “It used to be thought of as an older person’s craft, but today, teens and even younger people are hip to knitting.”

And quilt shop owners who offer knitting supplies and classes can definitely help to bring in new customers, he adds, given that they are fully prepared for such. “It is important to make sure that you have a knowledgeable staff in your shop that can teach knitting or crochet,” he explains. “It is also essential to learn who and where the competition might be in your area.”

This has certainly been the case for Nancy Laussade, owner of Nancy’s Quilt Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. Though she has been in business for six years, it wasn’t until three years ago that she decided to add knitting to the lineup of classes offered at her shop.

Sheri Berger (top) and the staff at The Loopy Ewe
“We started very, very slowly,” she says. “I had a quilting instructor who knitted and she began teaching and meeting in the store with friends who knitted socks.” When this group expressed an interest in buying yarn from her as well, she began adding it to her inventory. “I just ordered sock yarn at first,” she continues, “because I had a committed group of people who were interested. We gradually added more and eventually decided to go ahead and stock a variety of inventory in yarn.”

Today, Nancy’s Quilt Shop offers customers an assortment of knitting supplies—wool and alpaca yarns, patterns, and notions, including circular needles for knitting socks. The store also has a special knitting area complete with a table for knitters to meet around and work on projects. And Laussade says that she feels fortunate to have this space to provide for her knitting customers—something that a standard yarn store might not be able to do. “If I was just selling yarn,” she says, “I would not have the luxury of having that space.”

She says that while the yarn only constitutes about 10% of the store’s overall sales, the addition has been worthwhile thus far. But she cautions that a quilt shop must make sure that it has the customer base for knitting products before adding them to its inventory. “I did,” she explains. “I had a knitting teacher and quilters who wanted to learn to knit. I only ordered what they wanted until I saw that it was going to take off. And I’m still very specific about what I order—it’s all catered to what classes are being taught.”

Amy Tyer (right) and Sheryl Means of Yarntopia
Currently, the shop offers a substantial list of knitting classes including those for beginners as well as technique-specific classes for more experienced knitters. And Laussade says that there is definitely a “crossover” of sorts among the quilters and knitters that visit her store. Many of these knitters have developed an interest in quilting, while many of the quilters have begun to take up knitting.

But quilters aren’t the only ones trying their hand at knitting. It has also captured much of its new audience with the help of a thoroughly modern accomplice—the internet. Knitters around the world are using the internet as a way to connect and share their latest projects, favorite new finds, or interesting experiences. With a little help from Google, knitters can find a number of online knitting communities to which they can belong along with countless blogs written by knitters wanting to share their passion. The internet is also the ideal place for knitters to purchase their favorite (and often, hard to find) supplies.

Many quilt and knitting retail stores are finding that the internet is a great way to reach customers that might not otherwise walk into their stores. “It has been imperative to our business because we ship to countries all over the world,” explains Sheri Berger, owner of The Loopy Ewe, a knitting store out of St. Louis, Missouri.

“We’d never have that opportunity if we’d chosen to just do a physical retail shop,” she continues. Though The Loopy Ewe has minimal retail hours and in-person shoppers, they’ve chosen to concentrate on their online store because, Berger says, “there are so many people out there that don’t have a local yarn shop that they can just pop into and get what they need.”

Visitors to the online store can find an assortment of sock and lace yarns, as well as, patterns and accessories geared toward sock knitting. This focus on foot-friendly knits is a reflection of Berger’s own fondness for knitting socks.

As it turns out, knitting also suited her daughter, and together they both started making scarves. But after a year and a half of this, she asked herself, “How many scarves can one person need?” On the other hand, she says, “someone can never have too many socks.” So today, socks have become the project of choice for both of them.

Though she may have a preference, Berger says that one of the greatest things about knitting is that “there are so many options for the finished product—whether it’s scarves, socks, lace shawls, or sweaters.” It’s also fairly inexpensive, she continues, “and it’s something that you can sit and do with your family that doesn’t make a lot of noise. It’s a very productive, yet relaxing hobby.”

Berger documents many of her own adventures with knitting on her blog. Likewise, Amy Tyer and Sheryl Means, co-owners of the retail knitting store, Yarntopia, in Katy, Texas, maintain a blog for their site that includes information on their newest products and upcoming store events. Unlike The Loopy Ewe, however, the products that appear on the Yarntopia website represent only a fraction of their in-store merchandise.

Nicole Hunter (right) and Jenny Check of Stash and Burn
Tyer says that the store’s main demographic is “women whose children are around junior high age or women who are in their 40’s and 50’s.” Tyer goes on to explain that while knitting is still popular among college-age people, the trend has died down a bit in the last couple of years. She now finds that knitting is becoming more popular among young mothers, women in their 20’s and 30’s.

“Because Katy is a suburb, there are a lot of mothers here,” she says. “We have people bring their babies into the store. We even have a changing table in the back in case they need it.”

But these young women aren’t knitting their “granny’s sweaters,” she adds. “There’s been a big push with patterns and in magazines and books to try to appeal to the more fashion conscious knitters. There is more of a trend toward high fashion, which is great for the younger women like me.”

Magazines like Vogue Knitting, Knit 1, and Knit ‘N Style are even featuring young, hip models that are comparable to those seen in the pages of the “regular” fashion magazine.

Another young artist with a penchant for fashionable knits is Nicole Hunter. On her website, she introduces herself as “a librarian who knits—or maybe a knitter who is a librarian.” Either way, since learning the artform in 2002, she has devoted a large part of her free time to knitting, blogging about knitting, and now, podcasting about the same.

“I started blogging because I wanted a way to catalog my knitting—there’s the librarian in me,” she says. “I had been reading other knitting blogs and was that there was a community online of support that I though would be helpful to me as a new-ish knitter.”

She says that she was also a fan of knitting podcasts and decided to launch her own with friend and fellow knitter, Jenny Check. With a little help from Jenny’s husband, the duo dubbed their new creation “Stash and Burn.” “Since we talked so much about our own stashes and because it is such a focus among knitters, we thought we would use it as our jumping off point,” Hunter says. Consequently, in their first episode, the two discussed ways that they would attempt to reduce the size of their own “stashes” in the following months.

They have since released an amazing 40+ episodes of their podcast, which feature their own ongoing projects, new and interesting products, and interviews with other knitting aficionados. And while it is fun to share their enthusiasm for knitting with people across the world wide web, Hunter says that she also has to remind herself “to close the laptop once and a while and knit!”

This shouldn’t be too difficult given her passion for the artform. “I can’t imagine my life without knitting,” she says. “It can be frustrating at first, but it is ultimately very relaxing. And there is nothing quite like a finished object. When you have that scarf, sock, or sweater, you almost can’t believe that you made it with your own two hands!”
Rhianna White

For more information on the businesses mentioned above, visit the following websites:

Pretty way fab eh???????? So.............. I think that since Kathy and Steve at Webs are branching out into beads with knitting, they should branch out into quilting as well! :) I'll run the shop, it'll be great..................................

Truly one stop shopping! Woo Hoo! I'll bring the Bugles!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What I REALLY want...

We are busy, all of us individually---- BUSY! I'm up to my ears trying to get the monster called work stuffed back into it's place and for the most part making a good run of it.

Because I live in front of my computer, checking and dealing with a mountain of email is my life. Like it or not (and many days it is the latter!) I am bloody sick and tired of the crapsnickle, junkdookie, and ugly dang near p.orn in my spam filter and overflow into my actual inbox! I am absolutely furious. What I want is emails that say something like:

  • Fabulous yarn for you, really it is beautiful, have some please!
  • This fabric is the most gorgeous you have ever seen and felt!
  • Would you like to make an amazing quilt in your spare time that you will love?
  • Knitters attention, this wonderful pattern for a spring t is exactly what you have been looking for!
  • Don't miss this stash enhancement!
  • Have you wanted the most pleasurable knitting EVER?
Instead of the really stupid, time wasting and patently offensive stuff that promises to make my se.xual pleasure greater or my p.enis harder and happier. Seriously! My MOTHER has an email account for pete sake----- CHILDREN get that nasty stuff. It just smokes my trout in a very big way.

On another note, (thankfully) I seem to have misplaced TIME rather profoundly. It finally occurred to me that it was actually the 20th of February and I really should take down my Valentine's Day wall quilt. It is probably one of the most super simple seasonals I have but still enjoy putting in out each year. The hearts on each fabric square are purchased ecru lace hearts, the white lace embellishment in the center was created on my Bernina from white Sulky and a ton of wash-a-way stabilizer. While admitting to being mentally challenged these days I do believe if I trust my mind (and that will scare you in a big way) it was from the "Latte Quilt" book that was so big several years back.

So........................... where IS my sewing machine anyway? I'm just hoping that the length of time away is not indicative of the size of the bill.

Not much knitting happening------ or sewing either since I am sans machine, other than the antiques whose job it is to merely sit there and look pretty. Like me-- (haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!) I'm actually trying to read "A New Earth" by Ekhart Tolle, along with the rest of the world. That Oprah----- whatta gal. Being the dutiful student I am at it with my little flag highlighter/marker, which I do admit is pretty cool. The book? So far an interesting read and I know this for sure, it will push boundaries and cause each reader to come up against what they believe, what is truth, and where they sit with those really Big Questions.

So far.............. so good. I am really looking forward to Oprah's world-wide classroom event about this book. If nothing else the technological marvel of that is quite something!

My other bip (book in progress) is the latest from Stephen King, "Duma Key".

I'm not a 'scary book/movie' kind of girl at all, don't really care for them if the truth is told. I do absolutely LOVE the way Stephen King writes, he is masterful at his craft of words. I'm maybe 100 pages or so in and so far nothing that would keep me up at night, but I'm sure that might possibly change. I'm still in deep sorrow that his "Gunslinger" series has wrapped after many years and many books, that is for my money the finest series of books ever written. The tales grab you, hold you and push your boundaries like no other for me.

Thankfully there is no 'rithmetic in my reading and writing these days, that would be a deal breaker for sure!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

ragamuffin tales

One of those things that bring you to grips with life in general is hanging out in a hospital for any reason. It always amazes me how many feelings rush in when you are in a place where life makes an entrance and death a sometimes too hasty departure.

My niece in law got on the elevator with me one evening and almost lost her breath, as her face became ashen I asked her if she was okay. Her reply was quiet and tense when she said that being in the hospital reminded her of the time her dearest friend lost her baby. How the sights and smells and sounds and even the level of light in the building made all of that horrible time come crashing in on her.

Gut reactions indeed. Hospitals for almost all of us bring back that primal place when we enter the zone where s*&t happens.

How are we able to face life and death, sickness and sorrow---- those things that are an inevitable part of our lives that we would sooner ignore than deal with, how can we be comfortable with that which makes our souls cry? When hope meets fear, when we are forced to entertain the shadows that dance in those dim places in our hearts we find perhaps a bit more about what we are made out of. When we find joy in this place of birth and death our response is easier and more in tune with the life we would choose to live if we only had the chance to choose.

Our gut check becomes the place where we look in fear to see if we have grown as individuals, if our darkest nights and mornings of awe have gone to a place of light and peace. We stand and fearfully look inward to ascertain if we are living as a blessing or a curse.

We all have our hospital stories, those ragamuffin tales wound up with our own band-aids and held together with whatever bits of courage we need to re-tell them, to make us who we are. My stories are of being there to watch a parent die. To this day when I am in my hometown of Orlando Florida and I drive by the hospital where my Dad died, I see him standing at the window. He's waving goodbye (for the last time, unknown to me) to his only daughter, six months pregnant with his first grandchild. Funny how he will always be there in that window, always. The funniest thing is that because of the many years that have rushed by since then, I can't see him anywhere else. Outside of old photographs that is. I can only see him in his gown, blue and charcoal gray, little diamonds and dots, standing at the window after pressing himself up from a wheelchair. His face is softly stubbled and his eyes are the gentle blue eyes that come to me in my dreams. He smiled down at me in the parking lot, having to head back to the airport, to my life and he raised his hand in silent love. I know that if I knew then what I know now, I would have missed that flight. I sat in a hospital in Phoenix much more recently with my birth father, having had only a few short years to know him as a man, watching him die. His words will always be etched in my heart, "take care of yourself and know that I have always loved you". A legacy of wonder, those words.

As I spent the last week there in the hospital my too quick rebuttal to a life lived less than healthy came back to haunt me............ "if I get old and sick, just shoot me". Thankfully a knee replacement is not a critical event, a place where life hangs in the balance. There is tie enough to be there, without a doubt that place can't be ignored. Everywhere I looked there were bent old men on walkers roaming the halls and women far past their prime being wheeled to their rooms on gurneys that dwarfed them. Their eyes almost translucent, with the look of life long past and mute acceptance about where they were going. I don't want to be like them. My fear is that I will.

Prayers that rise are for all of those in hospitals, facing the fears of generations past and those to come. That life and death may hold them gracefully and graciously. For all of us with our own memories to sort, and for those facing the cliff that may mark the end.

While we wait we knit, we stitch, we crochet, we do some applique or hand sewing---- we read, we chat------ all like a duck on water, it is what we are doing with our hands while we process with our minds and our hearts. It is quite simply what we do.

Count your blessings. Pass one on.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Peek A BOO

I only thought I was tired last week, it was just a teaser, an appetizer. Officially, I am beyond tired. The hospital was my second home last week and dashing back and forth between the ortho floor and the studio, home (for the beloved dogs) and errands for all--- well, there was very little down time. C'est la vie.

On Friday I did get in a very big treat for myself------ I had about an hour and went to one of the great yarn stops considered a LYS here in St. Louis.

Do you recognize the RED plastic bag? Does it's redness give you any clues???

MMMMMMM.................... what is that lovely yarn beginning to peek from the shiny red bag????

AHA! It is an incredibly yummy must have yarn from The Loopy Ewe! I was so pleased to have FINALLY made the trip to Sock Mecca, to Meet Sheri in person since our interview during Knitting Contrisstmas. The Loopy Ewe is in a small office type building and is absolutely darling as can be and full of wonderful yarn, each one more tempting than the last. The Loopy Elves were busy packing a LOT of boxes heading out around the world for all of its big fans. Sheri showed me several yarns that were not available for purchase that day, they were being held for this weeks Sneak Up. I fondled and petted them to be sure, but I was a very good little shopper and did not take them for purchase.

This absolutely delicious yarn was my choice. The colors were exactly what I had gone in search of the pink to red, green family with a bark tone and vanilla in between. Perfection!

ToastyBoo----- in Watermelon Pickle. A yummeroo blend of 60% merino, 30% bamboo, and 10% nylon. The gauge is 6-8 stitches per inch on US 1-3's. It is from Numma Numma hand-dyed yarns.

The funny thing is that after wandering the rows of to die for yarns, this it the ONE skein I had in my hand, the one that far and away I wanted, must have! And what do I hear? That it was a brand new yarn, meant for sneak up this week and not in inventory yet! ACK!!!! Because it was not marked as not available, Sheri let me have it! YAY!

My suggestion is to watch for Sneak Up at The Loopy Ewe this week and jump on Toasty Boo! I can tell you that all of the colorways were delish and would make a fine addition to your stash!

My partner's Mom is out of the hospital and doing very well. Now of course is the checking in on her and bringing goodies. Another very positive note is that the LAST bridal show for the season was yesterday, can you say yipeeeeee????? We made some great changes to the booth for the last outing and will keep them in the mix for the next round of shows later this year. I've about talked until my face wanted to fall off, thankfully today is unpacking the show and trying to catch up on paperwork.

I'm getting REALLY cranky that my Bernina is still in the shop, we're approaching the 2 week mark. I know that come March 1 my Moda Fat Quarter Club will ship from the Fat Quarter Shop---- the pressure is on!

Let the week begin!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day


I send love and hugs, as well as the hope that your day today is full of well as all of your days! Of course I wish you could reach out and grab that doughnut in the photo above. After all nothing says HVD like a heart shaped Krispy Kreme! Not of course that I ate it! Never!

One of the (only) perks of hanging out in the hospital for the past two days is that there is a lot of knitting time. The first Coriolis is finished, ta da. I really enjoyed knitting this sock, it was so much fun. The inspired genius that is Cat Bordhi was in every stitch. The moss stitch at the top of the sock looks nice and I will echo it in the second sock (on the needles) but I think if/when I knit it again I will put on a 2x2 rib cuff. My calves are not huge or anything but apparently not svelte enough for moss stitch!

The second toe is done and the bottom of the foot is about halfway to the beginning of the Coriolis arch expansion. LOVE this toe, I'd like to see what it does in a single ply of yarn.

The finished sock cuddling up with the second sock in progress. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.

I'm off to the studio for about an hour and then off to the hospital again.

Still tired, but ever dutiful (and knitting).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Too Pooped 2

It's true. I'm too pooped to do much of anything. To admit to being less than absolutely exhausted would be copping to a lesser plea, because I am.

The great news is that my partner's Mom had her knee surgery today and she came through with flying colors. We had warnings of a major ice storm with 2-4 inches of snow yesterday and she hit a case of the Crazy Old Lady Syndrome! Poor baby, I know because I have seen it in action. My own Mother was a card carrying member of COLS before her death, and I miss her still! Heckfire, I've seen it enough to either be very good at it when I am a crazy old lady or promise never in a bazoombayillion years to do that to my kids! She just hit the freak out button. Pushed that bright red flashing sucker to the floor------ I think all the horns went off---- freak out, freak out in process----woop woop woop. Whereas days before she refused to come to our home the night before her surgery, she acquiesced yesterday. Thankfully the weather didn't amount to much of anything at all so she was here in time for dinner, some coffee, a few laughs, a hug or two and a nice tuck into bed up to her ears with a couple of my finest quilts. For some reason, I have not the foggiest, I could not sleep for beans and was up until 2:30. When the alarm went off at 4:45 I was not entirely ready to face the day. But up we charged, and got to the hospital at 6:20. We discovered chapter 2 verse 4 of the Crazy Old Lady syndrome was that she really didn't have to be there until 7:45. Ack. Regardless, surgery is over and she is quite wonderful for a crazy old lady hours from general anesthesia. I think the morphine drip helps.

During the miles of waiting I have managed a Major Cheat (or a Colonel Cheat???) with my "2 At A Time Socks"------ I have both of them knit to their prescribed two inches of ribbing and threaded onto the long cable as per instructions. Forgive me Melissa, I still plan on my own very personal lesson to figure out the fiddly bits at the beginning of the process, really I am. I think I can fly it from here. I hope. I figure if knitters can take the general idea of magic loop or two socks on a magic loop and give it their final tweak of knitterly glory----- then to get it started on dpn's and loop it up may just be my touch. So far so good. I'm loving the way the yarn is working up but for the moment am just too dorkasmorgeous tired to haul out the camera for pics to date.

I also (thank you Cat Bordhi, bless your brilliance and then some!) am moving again on Coriolus after a bit of a head scratching pause. What a cool pattern! As usual, the problem comes when I overthink a Bordhi pattern------ you just can't do that, not at all. What may not make sense to my overly pointy little pea brain does to the fine Knitter that is all things Cat.

With that I have returned from round one at the hospital via a stop for a burger, been home to feed the dogs and have a bit of an email check before heading back out.

Too pooped 2 knit.................

Monday, February 11, 2008

Flunked Socks, Passed Dumplings

It is hideously cold--------- and starting to snow. I'm looking out the window of the kitchen and watching the first wave start as sleet, and hoping for NO ice. I hate ice storms. Last year we lost power for a few days due to an ice storm taking down the power lines and that was brutal. I'm knitting, er, working, from home today and with a nod to the freezing temperatures there was only one thing to do.

Make a pot of chicken and dumplings. Okay, I didn't have a chicken so I plucked a turkey carcass from the freezer, tucked away since Christmas, and made stock. Amazingly fatty is stock created from turkey so a quick trip to the freezer was necessary to scoop up the extra fat from the broth. Now nice and rich and yummy it awaits dumplings!

Dumplings in my family growing up were always the biscuitty things, fluffy and light that sat on top of a dish and steamed up. Imagine my delight several years ago to discover another kind of dumpling---- the rolled one. Kind of noodle-like, but thicker, heartier, a bit slimy if the truth be told........... but incredibly wonderful! My partner's Mom is the dumpling queen and makes them for every family get together and holiday. They were so yummy that I had to learn to make them and I must say that it is as easy as eggs, flour, chicken broth and a pinch of salt. You roll it out, cut them into little squares and drop them into simmering stock. Heaven. Sheer heaven.

You will notice the gift under those dumplings in progress. Miss J brought me over a pastry cloth, hand made even! She used two layers of a very heavy duck cloth and hemmed them together. It is an enormous cloth, much bigger and nicer than you can find in the stores. When properly floured up, this cloth will turn out fabulous dumplings and I think it might have a pie coming off of it by the end of the day! Once again, practical and hand-made gifts are just the best!

Now THAT is what I am talkin' about!!!! Do those dumplings just look good enough to eat?

I had a wonderful time with knit-group yesterday afternoon. We meet at a local coffee house for hours of kibbitz and knit and despite the cold it was great. Well, until the singer dude showed up, put out two speakers, set up his keyboard and guitar and proceeded to run us right out. A skeleton crew showed up at the home of our fearless leader, rms who I hope will put on her blog the very cool swift that her creative hubby made for her!

One of the things I embarrassingly share is that I am a Two at a Time Socks drop-out. First cable too short.......... second cable just right. Cast on, no problem............ first join, okey dokey. Second sock? Forget it. I am apparently too dipdog stupid to be able to handle twisty cable and yarn in a seriously horrible tangle. It was not pretty. I will admit to using language that is beyond salty and unbefitting a contessa. It was (for me) frustrating and made me feel really, really stupid. Really.

I'm plodding along on the Coriolis when away from home---- and actually plan to put the ribbing for the former 2 and a Time project on dpn's, place it on stitch holders and see if just maybe I can get it knit from that point.

Melissa? I know you are out there and shaking your head! I'm sorry, I'm a supreme dork! Here is my offer for you......... come in to town, this is a GREAT knitting town. You can stay here at the house and I'll cook for you, then you can do a signing at one of the great knit shops, bookstores,------- or two. Or a class---- now that would be pretty great!!! Heck, I'll even give you a list of candidates, woo hoo. Then while you are here, you can sit your sweet gluten free self next to me on the couch and tell me what incredibly dumb thing I am doing wrong. I want to learn SO badly, and am educable, I promise.

Blitters, do not for one single solitary minute think that there is anything the matter with this great book. The problem rest solely and completely with MOI. I take all the blame, yes I do!

Cable Luxe is done front and back, yay! Time to pick up stitches for the first sleeve, I feel like I can almost see the end from here. At this point I do have hopes to at least wear it once before nice weather moves in. Assuming it ever does.

No word on the Bernina being ready to pick up...................... bummer. Of course this week may not see a bit of sewing as Miss J, creator of my pastry cloth and queen of all things dumplings is having her second knee surgery so you know where I'll be.

With socks at the ready. Just not (for the moment) 2 at a time.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Apply Chocolate

I have to tell you---------- I'm exhausted by the sadness of what has become known as the "Kirkwood Massacre". There is, to be sure, much sorrow for the families, the friends, the community of the shootings---- and more than that there is such pain that somehow it has become okay, to justify it when life feels unfair you shoot people who you feel have wronged you. It is just so sad.

Still no MOJO----- thanks to all who left comments or wrote such sweet emails! I know full well that we all go through spots that just seem a bit, well....... dry. As do I. The nice part, at least if using past history as an example is that when the MOJO comes back it seems much more creative, with great power and energy. That's what I'm hoping for anyway!

Apply chocolate, when the world closes in a bit, that is my credo. Love and chocolate, both of which only help any situation. Of course, love does not come front loaded with calories----and my pants are getting tight (Lolly helllllllllllpppppppppppppp!!!!!!!!!!!) but chocolate it is.

It's almost Valentines Day as well, five days away--- I feel less than romantic somehow. But I do know that a few handmade candies are always well received and put a smile on the face of amour, friend or family!

Homemade Toasted Coconut Haystacks! YUM! And the best part is that they are easy peasy. There is nothing like making a delicious little treat with your own hands for your Valentine, friends and family. I have to say, they are not QUITE as good as the ones from that shishi store in town ---- but they are pretty close!

Toasted Coconut Haystacks
  • 1 bag Angel Flake Coconut
  • 1 bag good quality chocolate chips--- I used semi sweet but substitute your fantasy
  • Gulf Wax (available near the canning section)
  • parchment paper
On a large, flat baking dish lined with aluminum foil, sprinkle the coconut in a thin layer. Broil about 8 inches away from the element and WATCH CLOSELY. Toss the coconut as soon as it begins to brown. This takes a bit of time to keep moving the coconut so it does not burn, and all of it gets nice and lightly brown and crisp. You want it to crisp up but not get completely brown through, it should have crunch but still have a nice coconutty taste. Let cool.

In a double-boiler, place the chocolate chips and just slightly less than 1/4 of a sheet of the paraffin. Let it melt together over the simmering water. Remove the chocolate from the hot water and let it sit for just a few minutes until it just begins to thicken a bit. Add in the coconut and stir carefully, incorporating all of the chocolate.

Using two spoons or a tiny ice cream scoop (sprayed with cooking spray) drop the candy onto parchment paper.

Allow to set up (if you can) and it is ready to taste!

Let the love start early this year, we could all use it I think!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Missing Mojo

Who was it that said maybe I just had a case of missing mojo????? Ummmhmmmmm, I think that is exactly the problem.

A combination perhaps of the cold and the terminally dreary----- work is yuk right now---- I miss my kids and I need to hug my grandboys----- ack. Add to that the horrible and shocking local news that last night a gunman broke into a local council meeting and by the time it was all over two policemen and 4 others were dead. It's enough to send you into a spin.

Life is so fragile. I think while I'm searching for my mojo I'll make sure to tell everyone I love how much I care about them, give hugs, smile more.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


It is all that is left, the sad and puny remainder--yet still appreciated and cherished. I've been reading with interest Lolly's adventure in weaving and her trip to learn with classes and the rich environment at The Manning's.

Among those things over my shoulder, one of the names I used to describe myself by was 'weaver'. When you have not used a skill and have none of the necessary accoutrements any more, do you lose the moniker? Or once you have soaked in a skill does the muscle memory alone allow you to keep that descriptor? I'm pretty sure I could still warp a loom and know that I'd fall into the seductive rhythm of weaving very quickly.

I miss it. It's one of those things that I could reach back into time and snatch back---- pulling it forward to reside with me now, ahhhhhhhh my floor loom. It was a tall pale birch loom with 8 heddles waiting to receive the firm strands of yarn that would make up the warp of the fabric.

This is the only project left. Nothing at all fancy, or even my best work by a long shot. The other runners, scarves, cushion covers, mats and even early bookmarks have somehow drifted away leaving me with my only memory.

It's a patchwork of sorts, a sampler of pattern and different weft yarn that has been stitched together. Beautiful perhaps only in my eyes because I remember.

Almost all of the weft (filler) yarn in this project came from my spinning wheel. The gray was a natural gray fleece (from a type of sheep I've long forgotten) and the natural yarn and the bits that were naturally dyed were (I think) from a sweet Corriedale. I remember cleaning and scouring that cream colored fleece for what seemed like ever, it was not one of the nicest fleece I'd seen. When it was nice and dry, carded and made into an army of neat little rolags, the fibers were so soft and fluffy!

This (to me) sweet little snippet of handwoven patchwork is glorious. It serves as both a reminder of the days when my loom lived with me and among my skill set I was a weaver and a spinner. The 9 patch currently resides on a table top, a little mat that makes me smile. I'll have to move it by the time the seasons bring the sun to the front of the house with enough strength to fade the yarn, but for now I see it often and enjoy it when I sit in the loveseat there in the nook to read.

It's unlikely that I will purchase another loom, I may never spin again (with my own wheel). But at the risk of sounding like one of those old ladies who spend their time recalling former days of glory-- I do remember.

The rain fell yesterday, long hours of driving rain, sometimes pelting the area with sideways sheets of wetness. The planned walk to the polling place was replaced with a drive and my trip to take my Bernina to the shop was slower than normal. Unhappily, I discovered a bad leak had developed in the roof, water was pouring into the 2nd floor bath from the ceiling and shortly after from the outside wall, under the leak. Ack. I only wish that insurance would cover this, but I don't think so. Living in a 100 year old home always has something going on but I'm really not thrilled about this latest development. As a matter of fact, I'm wishing that the housing market was better because I'm pretty sure that I'd happily take off for a condo with no maintenance and no yardwork---- and definitely no space for a floor loom!

For the first time in a VERY long time, since I can remember actually, there was no nothin' last night. No knitting, no quilting, no sewing, no reading, not a single activity. Nada. Because of the writer's strike there wasn't anything viewable on tv, I watch Idol but am not rabid about it----- I just sat.

Maybe it was the doughnuts and the associated guilt. Could be I'm tired of the cold and gray and rain. Maybe I'm beyond depressed about the roof leak. Nothing a session on the treadmill, a good day at the studio and a bit of work on a project won't fix.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fat Super Tuesday

It's no secret that I've been less than vigilant with working out during the winter months. With a nod to those that live in REALLY cold climates, I don't like to walk in the cold that has surrounded me over the past couple of months. Getting into the car and driving 20 minutes to the gym, waiting for machines that I can only use for 3o minutes, and then driving home does not instill enthusiasm.

How then can I not be ALL ABOUT any day of the week that is called FAT TUESDAY???? The one day of a year when decadence is celebrated, eating and drinking too much is encouraged..... if you could add a nice long nap into the equation it would be just about the perfect day! The theme of Mardi Gras might be "laissez les bon temps roulez" (let the good times roll), but the theme of Fat Tuesday must certainly be "belly up to the trough and stuff yo' face!". Or something like it!

I'm in!

In the mail yesterday was an invitation for the civil union of friends who live in New Jersey.

Check it out! Every little element was hand made----- all of the little flowers and beads and rhinestones..... all handplaced. Pretty cute! I don't care what we're talking about, homemade is best!

I understand the religious heritage of Fat Tuesday, and although my faith background does not include the fasting between Ash Wednesday and Easter it certainly does make sense. I'll be celebrating the day anyway, in my own fashion.

Some FT Highlights:
  • Krispy Kreme doughnuts (just because)
  • Maple French Toast Latte from QuikTrip (a super sized cup for less than $1.50, woo hoo)
  • Tater Tots (because I sadly dream of them)
  • Philly Cheesesteak
I think of it as energy for voting---- I'll walk to my polling place, that three blocks will burn off at least three doughnuts, right? Sitting at my desk in the studio should burn off the latte quite easily and taking my Bernina to the doctor will dispense with the Tots.

I'm declaring Fat Super Tuesday! Now that I can get behind (and unless I get back to the gym I have more behind to get behind with!)

I only hope that I won't get crumbs on my yarn......

Monday, February 4, 2008

On hold and re-knit

I was quilting about the same time that I learned to knit, my Gramma Ruth was an amazing blessing in my life and I learned how to perform many createrly things, things that have stuck with me and served me well over the years. In fact, I NEED a corner of the house that pays homage to all things soothingly creative even if it means I can spend five minutes breathing the fumes with a cup of tea.

See? I do have a corner of "my room" that is neatly devoted to all things of creative pleasure.

As most quilters, do not look inside the closet, or in the drawers of fabric---- what lurks there is not nearly as orderly! That is why closet doors were created though, right?

It was heavenly to have sat in my sewing room Sunday while working on my new knitting bag---"Emma". Don't ask me why her name is "Emma", I have no idea, it just spoke to me.

I pretty much called in tired today, sent our part-timer along to the show today and stayed in my jammies. The wedding last night wore me out. You see, young over the top Bridezillas are one thing but older, second time around, just got plastic surgery aren't I hot brides are completely and totally exhausting! EXHAUSTING! I felt simultaneously old, fat and frumpy while at the wedding and reception. The following day, Sunday, there was nothing I wanted to do more than hole up, close the door, listen to nothing but silence and sew.

Which is pretty much what I did. I didn't even have the steam to go to knit group, and that is saying something. That is until my Bernina rolled over with its' feet in the air. ACK! I have no idea what the deal is, the bobbin thread is a loopy horrible mess and I can't seem to be able to fix it. I think it will need a trip to the shop and I'm sick about it. I was on a roll with "Emma" and wanted so much to get it finished!

I got all of the pieces tweaked and traced off (to save in case I really do get the Etsy urge)

And I fused the Japanese fabric to the interfacing

I love pattern weights, so fast and easy for uncomplicated shapes!

I even got the bottom and one side sewn.

Then it happened. Kerflunk. Pahflooeey. Schnickdiddle. I am absolutely sick about it. SICK!

Because I could no longer sew I was forced to go into the kitchen and actually prepare food. This was not in my plan for the day although I was quite pleased to have had real food served on actual china. Definitely nice on a Sunday evening. It almost made me feel better about a sewing machine requiring a costly trip to Mr. Fix It. Parmesan crusted chicken will do that for you though.

Is that just the cutest? My sweet partner's Mom came by with that wrapped in a piece of tissue paper, I love a heartfelt surprise! She tells me that it is actually supposed to be a Christmas ornament, I'll likely tuck it somewhere to enjoy year round.

Monday is for meetings today. I'll be making the best of it with this:

We shall not discuss the unfortunate demise of my "2 at a time socks". It was ugly. I got all ready to go and discovered that my longest cable was 36 inches. I think that might be fine for a one at a time sock on circs but trying to make it work for two was incredibly frustrating. Did I mention it was ugly?????? Trust me, it was. I'll give it another go armed with a circ of proper length. Melissa, forgive me!

So I cast on for Coriolis Saturday night after getting home from bride wrangling and by the time I had unwound enough to head to bed at 1:30 I was pretty well into the foot. A great knit, a cool sock, and as always Cat Bordhi I bow at your feet! The yarn is a little, well a little 'peachy'. I knew that going in. It'll be fine with khakis for spring though. The best thing is the double stranded Austermann Step on size 6 circs----- those stitches fly.

We will also not mention that after this photo was taken that baby was frogged back to the point where the coriolis begins. I stupidly slipped purl wise for the SSK instead of knit wise and I just couldn't get over the fact that the first half of the swirl it looked a tiddle messy. Meeting time will find the re-knit happening.

The Bernina will have to be in the shop for awhile I think, there goes the quilt I have ready to be cut! My lovely bag???? On hold----- crapsnickle! My fear is that by the time i get back around to it, sufficiently motivated-----time will be at a premium.

Guess I'll have to be sittin' and re-knittin' instead. Some days are like that.